Banvit makes quarterfinals for first time
It was a historic night for Banvit Bandirma in the Italian capital. Despite their 66-56 loss against Virtus Rome in the Eighthfinals Game 2, Banvit progressed into the Eurocup quarterfinals for the first time ever on Wednesday, holding on to its 16-point margin from the opening leg last week. Banvit won the series 127-121 on aggregate, and set up a quarterfinal date with Paris-Levallois. In Game 2, Rome had 31-29 halftime lead, then took control behind Rok Stipcevic who scored 12 third quarter points for 50-36 lead. But Sammy Mejia scored 11 points the rest of the way for Banvit, including a pair of triples in the last 5 minutes of the contest, helping Banvit hold on. Stipcevic led Rome with 23 points and 6 assists. Bobby Jones scored 8, while Melvin Ejim and Lorenzo D’Ercole had 7 apiece. Mejia netted 21 and grabbed 9 rebounds for Banvit. Chuck Davis scored 10 points and Vladimir Dragicevic shipped in with 8 points plus 8 rebounds.
Stipcevic and Mejia traded three-pointers early, before Vladimir Veremeenko had a put-back to put Banvit up 7-9. But a basket-plus-foul from Stipcevic sparked a run, which Daniele Sandri capped with a three-pointer for 15-9. However, Banvit quickly replied as Dragicevic scored inside and Mejia hit from long range to make it 18-18 after 10 minutes. Earl Rowland and Jordan Morgan traded baskets to open the second, but the visitors did not allow another field goal for more than 4 minutes. Meanwhile, a jumper from Davis and a triple from Safak Edge gave Banvit 21-25, meaning it held a 20-point margin on aggregate. But Ndudi Ebi had a pair of close range baskets for the hosts, and Ejim had a put-back dunk that put Rome up 31-29 at halftime.
Stipcevic scored 4 of 4 free throws to open the second half, and a 6-point margin on the night. Dragicevic got Banvit within a single point, but Stipcevic nailed a triple, added a pair of foul shots, and assisted Jones for a three-pointer and Morgan for a layup that made it 47-35, and a 4-point game on aggregate. A triple from Stipcevic extended the lead to 14 points, but Rowland made a basket and Mejia free throws to make it 51-40 after three quarters. Can Maxim Mutaf had a jumper and Davis a three-point play that got Banvit within 53-45, but a triple from D’Ercole and a put-back from Ebi got Rome to 58-45, making it a 3-point game for the series. But Mejia answered with a pair of three-pointers, and couple free throws for 60-53. Stipcevic knocked down his fourth three-pointer to keep Rome’s hopes alive, but Davis answered with a dunk for the visitors. D’Ercole had a quick layup for 65-55 in the final minutes, but it was too little too late as Banvit held on to the margin from Game 1.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015